Tim Tebow's NFL career was apparently over before the Philadelphia Eagles signed him this offseason. After a brief reprieve, Philadelphia released the quarterback Saturday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
After his release, Tebow thanked the Eagles for his time with the organization:
Philly cut ties with the Heisman Trophy winner after it shipped quarterback Matt Barkley to the Arizona Cardinals in a trade for a seventh-round draft pick Friday, a deal reported by Schefter (via ESPN.com's Phil Sheridan).
On the heels of that move, it seemed as though Tebow would make the team. He certainly made a strong case for himself in the Eagles' preseason finale by significantly outplaying Barkley, as shown by the NFL's official Twitter account:
Tebow's chances of making the team appeared slim when Philadelphia initially signed him, but his release comes as a surprise after the Barkley deal.
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com was one of many who penciled Tebow onto the Eagles' roster since he possesses the type of versatility and athleticism head coach Chip Kelly covets:
Who will be the @Eagles' 3rd QB: #Barkley or #Tebow? http://t.co/LtF966cZmq2015-9-4 03:15:19
Philadelphia had a crowded depth chart at the most important position before Tebow came aboard, though. Former No. 1 overall draft pick Sam Bradford is the starter, while Mark Sanchez is a fairly capable backup.
That left Tebow battling for the No. 3 spot with Barkley. The former Denver Broncos and New York Jets signal-caller won that skirmish, but the Eagles decided against keeping three quarterbacks.
Even though Tebow didn't make the final cut, he left a positive impression on Kelly, per Mark Eckel of NJ.com.
"I've seen Tim improve since he's gotten here,'' Kelly said. "He's improved his throwing motion a great deal. Since we got him back in April, he's worked very hard at that—sequencing his throwing motion—so I think he's been more accurate.''
A relentless work ethic and a real effort to improve his craft weren't enough to shore up the issues that have prevented Tebow from getting another shot in the pros.
Kelly runs an offense that has as many spread elements as any in the league. Tebow thrived in college at Florida while running a similar uptempo, QB-friendly system.
After this brief stint in Philly, Tebow may still have a chance to catch on elsewhere, as he seemed to make strides in recent months.
Tebow does have one playoff win to his name, which was preceded by a magical run with the Broncos during the 2011 season, when he sparked a stagnant team to the AFC West title, albeit with an 8-8 record.
There are undoubtedly some qualities working in Tebow's favor, and the fact that Kelly and the Eagles seemed to like what he brought to the table means his NFL career may have new life even though things didn't work out in Philadelphia.